Students looking for your help

My name is Heath, I am a senior at Niskayuna High School currently enrolled in an engineering and design development course. In this class, we are expected to identify a problem, prove it is a problem, design a solution, and then produce our design. We have broken up the class to groups of 3-4 people to accomplish these tasks in just one school year. To prove that our problems are really problems, we are making a series of surveys to get input from other people who could have knowledge about the subject. Attached to the bottom of the page is one of these very short surveys and it would be very helpful if you could fill it out. Thank you for your time.


I believe it’s a personal problem,
not a vehicle problem,
if I lock my keys in the truck.

I did your survey for you, but you should be aware that a very quickly growing number of modern cars make it pretty much impossible to lock the keys in the car. They have antennas inside and out that detect the RFID chip in the key, and if you lock the door with the key inside, the door auto-unlocks again.

In other words, the problem now pretty much only exists on older/cheap cars, so unless you’re designing an aftermarket solution, you’re stuck at step 2 :wink:

And yet, with all the failsafes my car has, I still managed to lock my keys in the car.

I agree with the others. The problem has largely been solved in a number of different ways. None of them prevented me from leaving the keys on the console and stepping out and locking the doors. My own solution is to keep a spare key in my change pocket.

“same” is right. It’s never a problem if you are prepared. The solution illustrated by “Shadowfox” is a solution for the unprepared but can be a problem for others.

I took the survey and have never locked myself out but last Friday my wife managed to lock the key with remote in our Lincoln while out of town and had to call a locksmith out.
She apparently forgot, in spite of being shown many times, the magnetic box with extra keys that is stuck to the bottom of the receiver hitch.

Guess the next step will be to stick that magnetic box right next to the keypad on the door.
(Nope, she didn’t remember the keypad code and also forgot that I attached a small metal tag wth the stamped keypad code to one of the rear license plate bolts.)

Hmmmm ok4450…how nice is that Lincoln? What did you say your address was?..

I actually do the same thing. I have never locked my keys in the car. My wife has done it - well, a lot. So both of our cars have magnet boxes w/ a spare key somewhere on the undercarriage.

Guys, you’re in high school so I wouldn’t worry if some of the “latest” technology (RFID) has already headed toward this problem. But then again…

I don’t know anything about how the systems described by Shadowfax work (I only ever own cheap, old cars) - but based on the description, I don’t like it. Its not a rare occurrence in my family that we travel with two keys. One is in my wife’s purse, or wherever and the other is the one I’m using. We frequently get out of the car with one key out and one key in. I don’t want the stupid car to unlock itself just because one is still in there. So based on the description, one problem might be solved but only by creating another one.

Here’s a whole other idea - except that since its an engineering and design course it might be an idea that would earn an F - the idea is that you take “the problem” to be a widespread overemphasis among engineering & design types on faith in “technological fixes.”

Ok, that one’s a long shot (but its well worth bringing it to your classroom if its not there already), so best of luck with your project.

Only time I’ve ever locked my key in the car was with standard locks. On one I just went and got the hidden key, on the other, the hidden key had rusted off so I called the motor club, I always hide a key and also have Onstar with the number programed on my phone. When its 20 below out, you don’t want to waste much time.

It has been invented…it has a name. It’s called a “Slim-Jim”…

Actually cigroller, the Lincoln is very nice and the keys are left in the ignition about 80% of the time.
I live in a pretty much crime free area and no one messes with anything here.
Besides, most people around here know I’m very polite to a point and very volatile and well armed after that point is reached. :slight_smile:

Property Protection By Mr. Smith And Mr. Wesson.

“I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”

That’s how it’s done here in this wonderful part of rural America. Most cars are unlocked and many have keys inside. Houses usually aren’t locked. If you want to borrow something, just ask me, but don’t take anything without permission. That’s easy to understand, right ? It’s funny how crime rates go down when law-abiding citizens are armed.


While I don’t think CSA’s theory of crime is any good at all, I do know what you mean about the rest. My keys are almost always in the car & my house unlocked. (But I don’t have a nice Lincoln). And while I’d never borrow from my neighbor without explicitly asking, I’d actually not get too upset is the neighbors borrowed from me without asking (if that’s what they had to do).

Funny story about that - recently my brother called the cops to report that an aluminum frame pier fishing cart had been stolen from his yard. He had been hearing about the occasional thing going missing in the neighborhood & assumed someone lifted it. Until later…when his neighbor came back over with the ladder he had asked to borrow. Turns out he didn’t want to lug the ladder all the way to his house, so he put it on the nearby fishing cart and wheeled it over.